Yikes! Child Care Costs What?!?!

When my oldest—who just graduated from college—was a toddler, we had a friend who was in medical school. Somehow we got to talking about tuition, and I was stunned to hear that we were paying more for my daughter’s preschool than the future doctor was paying. That just didn’t strike me as the way the world should be. Sadly, in the 20 years since then, very little has changed.

The nonprofit Child Care Aware of America just published a report about the cost of child care around the country. They found that full-time care at a child-care center for an infant ranged from a $4,863 per year in Mississippi all the way to $16,430/year in Massachusetts. Care for a 4-year old at a child care center was a comparative bargain, costing $4,321 in Mississippi to $12.355 in Massachusetts.

Why the big difference? A lot of it has to do with labor costs (in states where basic living–rent, utilities, etc—are high, it costs more to hire child care workers). In addition, rents paid for the centers themselves are higher in areas where real estate prices are high. Oh, and let’s not forget about licensing regulations. The Child Care Aware report notes that while regs allow for one caregiver per five infants in Mississippi, regs in Massachusetts only allow a 1:3 ratio.

But regardless of the location of the center, a typical family of four spends more per month on caring for an infant than on food. In nearly half of the states, parents pay more for center-based infant care for one child than they pay in rent (in 20 states, child care costs more than the average mortgage payment). And in all 50 states, parents with two kids in center-based care paid more than rent. Getting back to the preschool vs. medical school tuition issue, in nearly two-thirds of the country, average child care costs were greater than yearly tuition and fees at a four-year public college. That’s just frightening.

report released Monday — Titled “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care,”

See Child Care Aware’s list of the top ten most expensive states for child care below:

http://usa.childcareaware.org/sites/default/files/cost_of_care_2013_103113_0.pdf

The Nearly Impossible Task of Making College Affordable

you need to put away more for your child's college education

Dear Mr. Dad: Our son just turned 8 and my husband and I have been talking about how we’re going to pay for his college education. We really don’t have a plan. I say that we should take the money out of our retirement accounts, but my husband says we shouldn’t. We’re both feeling completely overwhelmed by the whole college tuition thing. Who’s right?

A: Congratulations! It’s great that you’re having this discussion right now—too many parents put the whole thing off until it’s almost too late. And you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. In fact, a recent report called “How America Saves for College 2013” (produced by Sallie Mae, the country’s largest education financial services company) asked parents to describe their feelings about saving for college. The top answers were overwhelmed, annoyed, frustrated, and scared.

[Read more...]

Acing Competitive Admissions + Eating Disorders + College Tuition Sticker Shock

[amazon asin=0985798300&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Kim Palacios, author of From Preschool to Grad School.
Topic: Strategies for success at any level of competitive admissions.
Issues:Three things all schoo0ls want; two questions you must be able to answer; crafting your story; the role of social media; application fraud and cheating; admissions consultants.


[amazon asin=0936077298&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Johana Marie McShane, coauthor of Why She Feels Fat.
Topic: Understanding your loved one’s eating disorder and how you can help.
Issues:Why what seems to family and friends as bizarre, irrational behavior actually makes sense to the person with the disorder; evaluating therapy vs hospitalization; the gender breakdown of eating and body-image disorders.


[amazon asin=1592577466&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 3: David Rye, author of Financial Aid for College.
Topic: Getting the money you need ant for the school you want.
Issues: Overcoming college tuition sticker shock; the difference between loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study programs; how to find little-known scholarships; federal and state grants.

Can We Afford to Send Our Kids to College? Do We Even Know What It Costs?

Dear Mr. Dad: Our son is a high-school senior. He’s a good student and wants to go to college next year. Seems odd to be worrying about this already, but there’s no way we can afford to send him to the places he’s looking at. My husband lost his job, I’m working only part time, and we weren’t able to put enough into our son’s college account as we’d hoped. What should we do?

A: Welcome to the dizzying world of college finances. In every other generation in recent history, children have done better than their parents. They get more education, have better jobs, make more money, and live longer. Until now. Children growing up today are in the first generation that will be doing worse than their parents in just about every measurable area. And perhaps the most obvious sign of this changing tide is how families are adjusting their college dreams.

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Is College Expensive? You Have No Idea. Really, You Don’t.

Our kids are in trouble. Big trouble. In every other generation in recent history, children have done better than their parents. They get more education, have better jobs, make more money, and live longer. Until now. Children growing up today are in the first generation that will be doing worse than their parents in just about every measurable area. And perhaps the most obvious sign of this changing tide is how families are adjusting their college dreams.

According to the just-released College Savings Indicator study (done by Fidelity Investments), only 31 percent of parents with kids headed for college have adequately considered how much college will cost, the impact of graduating with a crushing debt load, and how the choice of major could affect future employment prospects. Translation, 69 percent have not had the 21st Century version of “the talk.”

[Read more...]

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